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MLB Philadelphia Phillies

Who Will Be In Philadelphia Phillies’ Bullpen Come Opening Day?

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Philadelphia Phillies Need Stronger Bullpen In 2013

Phillies
Howard Smith-USA Today Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies began 2012 with large and glaring weaknesses in their bullpen. In the first half of the season, Charlie Manuel saw his team post a 4.72 ERA through the All-Star Break. However, the second half of the season saw the team improve its bullpen performance, as they posted a 2.89 ERA from the All-Star Break until the end of the season.

Now, the Phillies have a slightly different looking bullpen heading into the 2013 season. A couple of veteran pieces have been signed and a few younger guys will be fighting for jobs throughout spring training. The 8th inning became a house of horrors for the Phillies last year, but they are hoping that a new face will fill that role and be able to bridge the gap in the late innings. The closer position is filled, but there are jobs available.

The bullpen will need a pair of left-handers, and the team is hoping that both spots will be filled internally and that they won’t need to look outside the organization for help at the end of spring training. The younger names on the roster are hoping to step up and into the spotlight, and the veterans are hoping to claim their spots. So, what exactly will this Phillies bullpen look like come Opening Day?

It can’t possibly be worse than last season’s first half, or at least Manuel hopes so. He’s just looking for a few more options in the late innings, something he didn’t have at all times in 2012.

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Justin DeFratus

DeFratus
Frank Victores-USA Today Sports

DeFratus, 25, has had looks each of the last two seasons with the team, but this may finally be the year he breaks camp with the big club. He appeared in 13 games in 2012, posting a 3.38 ERA in 10.2 innings pitched.

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Chad Durbin

Durbin
Derick Hingle-USA Today Sports

It's a return affair for Durbin, who was with the team in 2008 when they won a World Series. Durbin spent last year with Atlanta, going 61 innings, allowing 52 hits, and posting a 3.10 ERA. His 1.31 WHIP was relatively mediocre, so it's important that Durbin avoids walks in 2013.

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Phillippe Aumont

Aumont
Howard Smith-USA Today Sports

Aumont surprised many last year with his performance towards the end of the season. With his 6'7" frame, Aumont is imposing on the mound. He pitched in 18 games last year with the Phillies, and had an ERA of 3.68. He had 14 strikeouts in 14.2 innings. Walks, however, were an issue. Aumont had nine, and sometimes had trouble controlling his pitches.

That said, Aumont is a critical piece for the Phillies' bullpen this season. If he performs well, it will give them some reason to finally celebrate the Cliff Lee trade from over three years ago.

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Jeremy Horst

Horst
Howard Smith-USA Today Sports

Horst came over to the team in a little-heralded deal in January of 2012. He went on to pitch in 32 games and had an 11.5 K/9 ratio and 1.15 ERA. He will have to watch his walks, as he had 4.0 BB/9. However, having two lefties in the pen will help in late-game situations, particularly for in-division games against foes like Bryce Harper and Jayson Heyward.

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Antonio Bastardo

Bastardo
Anthony Grupposo-USA Today Sports

Bastardo struggled mightily at times in 2012, finishing the season with a 4.33 ERA, a far cry from his 2.64 ERA in 2011. The main problem? Walks, and an inability to finish opposing hitters.

Bastardo had 23 unintentional walks in 52 innings. He did strike out 81, but if he doesn't have control of his fastball, it turns into a doomsday scenario for the Phillies' left-hander.

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Mike Adams

Adams
Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

The new man in town for the Phillies is Adams, who signed a two-year, $12 million contract with a club option for a third year. He hopes to be the 8th inning man the team needs. Adams has a 2.08 ERA over the past three seasons, but struggled a bit in 2012 due to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. He is hoping his health holds up in 2013 and beyond.

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Jonathan Papelbon

Papelbon
Howard Smith-USA Today Sports

The Phillies' $50 million man is back for another year. He was basically as-advertised in 2012, his first year in a Philadelphia uniform. Papelbon pitched in 70 games, racking up 38 saves and a 2.44 ERA and another All-Star appearance.

His 11.8 K/9 ratio was above his career level, but Papelbon has voiced displeasure this spring saying his year wasn't good enough because the team's performance wasn't good enough. Papelbon, while critical of himself, is hoping to lift the team to the post-season in 2013.